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Mayor reaffirms support for Georgetown community

October 4, 2011

They may not have voted for him, but Georgetown residents gave Mayor Vincent C. Gray a very warm welcome at Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E's monthly meeting Monday.  After a laudatory introduction by Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, a Georgetown resident, then answering questions about ANC redistricting, Georgetown University’s campus plan and money for Volta Park and praise for city agencies, the Mayor was in control and at the top of his game.

Mayor Gray makes his point to Commissioners Ron Lewis and Bill Starrels on Monday evening (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Mayor Gray makes his point to Commissioners Ron Lewis and Bill Starrels on Monday evening
The Mayor's appearance at the ANC was announced last week after neighbors complained about mismanagement of the huge repaving project to replace cobblestone O & P Streets, and city officials swung into action to address complaints of parking nightmares and ticketing. DDOT officials at the meeting Monday announced a new daily e-mail alerting residents to work areas and parking restrictions, as well as a new Twitter account, specific measures the community had asked for.

Gray specifically voiced his support for the position of residents who have opposed Georgetown University's proposed Campus Plan. Community opposition to it is focused on the proposed increase in the number of students who would be housed off-campus, particularly in Georgetown and Burleith.  “I support the community,” he said to a round of applause, adding that while he had met with Unviersity President Jack DeGioia, the ANC speaks on “behalf of the community [and their] concerns are well-founded,” including a firm enrollment cap.  He also praised recent University-community discussions and it “looks like there is some positive movement and people are working together.”

On the related town-gown topic of ANC redistricting, Gray was questioned about the apparent disparity in representation for students.  They make up 45% of the population but will only have two of the eight seats in the proposed new districts.  As a ward-level council topic, Evans described the legislative steps ahead for all sides to be heard, but in the end in redistricting, “not everyone goes home happy.”

Mayor Gray at the ANC 2E meeting on Monday. (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Mayor Gray at the ANC 2E meeting on Monday.

Self-determination and town-gown relations were combined in an exchange prompted by a question from Commissioner Jake Sticka, a GU student.  Sticka asked if the Mayor would support a town hall on university-student relations, to which Gray answered he would, if Sticka would establish a university group for self-determination and statehood for the District.  Sticka answered: “We already have two now.”

In the course of the evening, several District agencies were lauded, specifically MPD and the District Department of Transportation.  Evans called DDOT “johnny-the-spot” for its overall performance in Georgetown and Commissioner Jeff Jones praised DDOT and its contractors for their work on O & P Streets. “We really appreciate the hard work you’re doing for the community," he said.  Commissioner Tom Birch said MPD was very quick and effective in response to a purse-snatching near the 7-11 on P Street.

Gray soundly defeated incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty in last year's election by a 53-46 margin, but in Georgetown's Precinct 5, Fenty won 85 percent of the vote to Gray's 13.  In Precinct 6, Fenty won with almost 87 percent of the vote.
 

Councilmember Evans and Mayor Gray (center) with commissioners (from left) Jake Sticka, Tom Birch, Bill Starrels, Ed Solmonn, Ron Lewis and Jeff Jones  (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Councilmember Evans and Mayor Gray (center) with commissioners (from left) Jake Sticka, Tom Birch, Bill Starrels, Ed Solmonn, Ron Lewis and Jeff Jones


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Wells Vows to Keep MLK Library Open on Sundays

September 23, 2011

Councilmember Tommy Wells has taken up the popular cause of keeping the downtown Martin Luther King Library open on Sundays, telling the Board of Library Trustees on Wednesday that he “will do everything in my power to get the $320,000 needed.”  The Ward 6 councilmember dropped by unannounced at the regular Trustees meeting at the new Deanwood Library in northeast.  

Marcia Carter of the Friends of the Georgetown Library is delighted: “Closing MLK on Sundays would be tragic -- not only for its effect on the general public -- but because of the many special needs students who rely on services available only at MLK.”

She was joined Ward 6 resident Wendy Blair, President of the Literary Friends of the DC Public Library. “How encouraging that the new chair of the Library Committee is standing up so forcefully for the Library,” she said.  The second term councilmember recently became the new head of the committee that oversees the DC Public Library as well as Department of Parks and Recreation and the Office of Planning.  

 

Without the money, the closing is to start October 1st.

 


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Cate Blanchett weathers storm in Georgetown

August 26, 2011

In a season of hurricanes and quakes, Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett sought out a bit of stability on the historic streets of Georgetown Thursday. St

Georgetown author Carol Joynt and actress Cate Blanchett (Photo by: Composite) Georgetown author Carol Joynt and actress Cate Blanchett
anding outside of Dean & Deluca, she discussed the streetscape with two companions with a cinematic look. Were they scouting a future movie?

The Georgetown Dish has suggested that Blanchett play the leading role in the film adaptation of Carol Joynt's Innocent Spouse.

Meanwhile, Blanchett is in town starring in a new adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya at the Kennedy Center by her husband and co-artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company, Andrew Upton. The production runs through Saturday, weather permitting.

Blanchett plays

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh in Uncle Vanya (Photo by: Kennedy Center) Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh in Uncle Vanya
Yelena, wife of Professor Serebryakov who visit Uncle Vanya and his niece Sonya, setting off disarray and a few consuming love affairs, each of which withers in disappointment.

"I've always wondered what she did during the day," said a Washington theatergoer who recently saw the actress in Uncle Vanya. "Her role is so intense I would have to sleep all day to recover."

Blanchett looked rested and fresh, however. It is the second time in recent years she has spent time in Washington. The Sydney Theatre Company's production of A Streetcar Named Desire, which starred Blanchett as Blanche DuBois at the Kennedy Center, received rave reviews.

Blanchett hails a cab headed to Water St. (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Blanchett hails a cab headed to Water St.


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